A split of a Monday doubleheader at Redmond left the Celts varsity baseball team tied for third with South Salem in the Central Valley Conference standings.

Only the top four teams from each conference advance to the Class 6A state playoffs.

Against the Panthers, McNary (7-7, 10-9 overall) took the opener, 16-10, but dropped the nightcap, 15-5.

“Winning the first one was huge,” said McNary Coach Craig Nicholas. “We played in sustained winds of 40 miles per hour. To say that each fly ball was an adventure is an understatement.”

Winds were so bad that at one time the umpiring crew wanted to stop the game.

“We were up 12-2 at the time,” said Nicholas. “But we talked them out of that.”

McNary pitcher Spencer Rice continues to baffle opponents, often at the most opportune times.

“He scattered 17 hits (in the win). And just when they think they have something going, he’ll get out of it.”

Nicholas praised shortstop Sean Curry’s defensive play. He also added three hits and four runs scored in the opener.

Taylor Shepherd chipped in four hits and three RBIs.

McNary owns the tie-breaker over South Salem and Redmond, which is in fifth place.

“We are in third place and control our own destiny,” said Nicholas. “Goal number one is to get into the playoffs; then we’ll see what happens.”

In an 11-3 win over South Salem on Friday, April 30, Zach Olpet  delivered three hits, three runs and an inside-the-park home run.

“Zach plays as hard and as well as anyone on the team,” said Nicholas. “He is is a tough nut, a solid third baseman and right now is pounding the ball. He is one of the reasons why we are still in the hunt.”